Friday, 15 December 2017
When we make contact with the real God.
Or more precisely when the real God makes contact with us.
We are prone to making assumptions.
We assume that we are always right.
We assume that we are worthy.
We assume that we are better than others.
There are many things that we can assume.
When Abraham migrated to the land of the Canaanites he assumed that God had promised possession of this land to him and his descendants.
This has been disputed ever since.
And it is still disputed today.
When Moses was presented with some guidelines for the Israelites he assumed that making more guidelines was even better.
Hence we have the 613 laws.
King David assumed that because God favored him He would destroy his enemies and make him victorious in battle.
But these things are by no means certain.
When Jesus came he clarified many of these things.
But many assumptions have been made about Jesus as well:
Jesus' Virgin Birth, his Divinity, his physical Resurrection, his Second Coming.....
Many of these things have been questioned.
So what can we be sure of?
Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."'" Matthew 22:37 (NRSV)
"'And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."'" Matthew 22:39 (NRSV)
And: "'I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.'" John 13:34 (NRSV)
This is certain.
The Bhagavad-Gita says:
"To love is to know me,
My innermost nature,
The truth that I am:
Through this knowledge he enters
At once into my Being."
"Give me your whole heart,
Love and adore me,
Worship me always,
Bow to me only,
And you shall find me:
This is my promise
Who love you dearly."
This is sure.
So; rather than assuming possession of land, or victory in battle, or winning out against our enemies; we should try to love people and make peace.
Nothing else is sure.
[Scripture quotation (Marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S,A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
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Thursday, 14 December 2017
Shakespeare used the word die to describe sexual orgasm.
This would seem to imply that the orgasm resulted in a spiritual death.
In Romeo and Juliet Romeo says, "Give me my sin again." as if kissing was a sin.
These ideas indicate a medieval mind-set about sex and death.
St.Paul said, "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23 (NRSV)
Modern Satanists have appropriated these ideas in order to magnify the power of Satan.
By imposing the idea that sexual orgasm leads to death to God they take a power which is not strictly Biblical.
These doctrines were never intended to be implemented in this way.
And you will not find these ideas in Jesus' teachings.
They hark back to Persian mythology with its ideas of dualism.
But the idea that sex leads to a spiritual death is false.
Sex is life itself.
And the pleasure experienced in sex is not sinful.
So we must challenge these lies.
And restore sex to its rightful place.
[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
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Wednesday, 13 December 2017
The problem with movies like Star Wars is that they have the right problem but the wrong answer.
The problem of widespread evil in our world cannot be stopped with the sword.
Because evil is basically a spiritual problem it must be countered with spiritual methods.
This is where Jesus comes in.
Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who abuse us.
He said to turn the other cheek.
This approach is in sharp contrast to classical stories of good versus evil in which the good guys always win through violence.
The human reaction to evil is to attack and destroy.
But when we lay down the sword and pray for the good of our enemies something happens.
Violence begets violence.
So non-violent prayer is a way forward.
Rather than getting entangled in violence and revenge we can pray for the redemption of our assailants.
This is truly radical.
Cry out to God!
He will hear.
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Tuesday, 12 December 2017
The religious right think that they have cornered the market in spirituality.
They think that right thinking and right politics equals God's blessing.
And absolute power.
But spirituality is not about lording it over others.
Spirituality is about giving.
Too much of our language in church is about receiving and asking for things (mostly for ourselves).
Too much of our intention is about conquest and conversion.
And too little of our action is about meeting others' real needs.
We need to learn to give love.
Not to accrue benefit to ourselves.
Then we will be a true blessing to the world.
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Monday, 11 December 2017
We may feel powerless to stop the war machines.
We may feel depressed about the state of our world.
We may not know what to do.
Or how to help.
But there is one thing we can do.
And that is:
Pray for Peace.
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Sunday, 10 December 2017
"'The Father judges no one.'" John 5:22 (NRSV)
"'Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.'" John 5:19 (NRSV)
"'You judge by human standards; I judge no one.'" John 8:15 (NRSV)
Jesus says he, like the Father, judges no one.
So how can we anticipate a Judgement Day?
People have been predicting this Day for thousands of years but it never happens.
Perhaps we are justified in thinking that it will never happen.
Humankind has projected its expectation of Natural Justice onto God.
But God does not work in this way.
God is wholly good, wholly benevolent.
"The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish." 2 Peter 3:9 (NRSV)
Rather than punishing us for our transgressions, God waits for us to change.
He gives us another chance.
So, like God, we should refrain from judging others.
And offer them another chance.
[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division Of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
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